SEPTA Trolley Tunnel to Close for Trolley Tunnel Blitz

SEPTA Trolley Tunnel to Close for Trolley Tunnel Blitz

Maintenance and Construction Work to Take Place July 13- 23

Due to power, track and station improvement projects, SEPTA Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate in the Center City tunnel from 10 pm. On Friday, July 13, through 4 am on Monday, July 23. Trolley service will begin and end at 40th and Market Streets; trolleys will use their alternate diversion service routing to connect to SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line at 40th and Market Streets. Trolley passengers can board the Market-Frankford Line at 40th Street Station for travel to-and-from Center City, as the work efforts will not affect that service.

This is the fifth consecutive summer SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz. During this year’s nine-day tunnel closure, members of SEPTA’s in-house Engineering, Maintenance & Construction Division crews will work around-the-clock on key maintenance and construction tasks throughout the five-mile, single loop Center City tunnel.

“The trolley tunnel is used 24 hours a day, making it difficult for our crews to get productive work windows to complete necessary repairs and improvements,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel. “The Blitzes have allowed our crews to replace switches and thousands of feet of rail and overhead contact wire, and undertake an aggressive improvement and cleaning program at the trolley stations. The program we implemented five years ago and have executed over the past four summers has made a significant difference on how the Trolley Tunnel infrastructure performs over the course of the year.” To minimize the period of inconvenience on riders, SEPTA holds the Blitzes during the summer, when ridership is lower.

SEPTA’s Track Department has scheduled several upgrades to the track systems for this year’s tunnel closure, including: replacing a track switch inside the 40th Street Portal at the bypass track and the eastbound guarded curve entering the Portal; reconstructing the eastbound and westbound tangent tracks on Woodland Avenue between the Portal and Chester Avenue (including a new street surface); renewing the eastbound and westbound guarded curves entering and exiting the 36th Street Portal (including new paving); and replacing the westbound guarded curve rails east of 15th Street West Plaza Station. The Track Department will also work on clearing clogged track drains throughout the tunnel.

Members of SEPTA’s Power Department will remove approximately 15,000 feet of abandoned conduit and communication cables on north wall of the tunnel between 19th Street-30th Street Stations. The Power Department will also perform maintenance work in the substation.

Other work that will be completed during the tunnel closure includes:

  • Installation of new energy efficient lighting within the tunnel between 36th and 37th Street Stations
  • Testing relays (electrical switches) and performing maintenance on switches at Ludlow Interlocking
  • Performing heavy maintenance tasks at all stations including graffiti removal, tile repair, painting, track bed cleaning and heavy cleaning at all stations
  • Testing emergency generators and lighting throughout the tunnel
  • Addressing water leaks at stations and in the tunnel through crack-injection and other rehabilitation improvements
  • Inspecting, testing and maintaining track circuits and other signal aspects (visual indication) at Portals and throughout the tunnel
  • Upgrading signal heads to incorporate LED technology between 22nd and 30th Street Stations

The Center City Trolley tunnel closure will also allow SEPTA in-house and third party contractors time needed to work on two additional projects: the 15th Street Station Improvements Project and the University City District’s (UCD) 40th Street Portal Project. At 15th Street Station, third party contractors will continue with accessibility (ADA) improvements including shoring and framework for the new elevators and structural repairs. At the 40th Street Portal, SEPTA crews will install a new pipe that ties into the UCD storm water management system.

“The projects we work on during the blitzes improve safety and service reliability throughout the Trolley Tunnel,” said Knueppel. “We thank our customers for their continued support and understanding during these closures. We will work to make this year’s blitz as productive and successful as in previous years.”

SEPTA’s Trolley Tunnel Blitz is part of the authority’s “Rebuilding the SEPTA System” capital program and funded through Pennsylvania Act 89. For more information, including Market-Frankford Line schedules, please contact SEPTA Customer Service at 215-580-7800, visit and follow SEPTA service updates on Twitter at @SEPTA.

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